Grammarians debate which phrase is correct: “like no other” or “like none other.” Normally, the former would be correct, if “the way” in the title of this article were referring to a thing, a path or a procedure. “None” is a contraction for “no one.” So “like none other” means “like no one other.” 

Yes, “The Way” is a person! The title of my article is deliberate. Jesus describes himself as “The Way,” not just some way. He did not come to teach us some new code of morality — although from his life we can draw enormous ethical lessons. Even his firm statements on the sanctity of marriage are fundamentally affirmations of how God originally intended it to be, indissoluble and faithful to one’s partner alone. This is not a new law but an affirmation of what true love is. 

Jesus fulfills all the prescriptions of the law and often refers to “Moses and the prophets” as authentic sources for how his disciples are to behave morally. His “way,” therefore, is not at heart about a code of conduct, but about a new way of following the commandments: with love. 

He does say “a new commandment I give you: love one another, as I have loved you.” What is he saying? Unlike any other prophet, teacher, mentor or guru, he establishes himself as the norm and center of all that we are and do. He himself is, as it were, the way and the model of what we must become.  

How does Jesus love? One hundred percent! If there is one indisputable reason for the incarnation, life and passion of Christ, it is the outpouring of complete love for every human being. He sacrificed everything. By “sacrifice” we understand not only that he gave it all away, but that he suffered in doing it, thereby sanctifying all that we participate in with him, even the grave itself! It is worthwhile to meditate on this. 

Why did Jesus have to suffer at all? Why could he not just have told us he loved us and everything would be okay? Well, how many times have you and I heard that from someone! How persuasive or effective was it? Saying a “word” is not the same as actually BEING the Word, as Jesus is. He IS everything that he says. His word is life itself. 

This involves suffering, however, because this truth is rejected. From the moment he was born, the forces of evil were conspiring to destroy Jesus. We see the opposition he encounters from earthly and demonic powers, for whom he is a threat in their desire for control over people. 

Jesus seeks to control no one. Love does not and cannot control. It can only be given — freely — and it can only be complete when it is received and affirmed, again, freely. So, in the end, Jesus goes to his death, sentenced on a charge of trumped up criminality — basically telling the truth about who he is — and he does it out of total love.  

His passion, death and resurrection are a personal invitation to each and every one of us, first of all, to accept that we are deeply and totally loved by God. But it is more than words. It is a living legacy. Jesus pours out his blood for us, even as we are still sinners, at Calvary. He also makes Calvary ever present to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass IS Calvary, the real loving self-gift of Jesus himself, now so accessible in the form of a meal.  

During Holy Week, we have the opportunity to hear the Passion narratives, to recall and celebrate the institution of the Holy Eucharist, to accompany Jesus as he opens his heart to us by reminding us of the love-gift of himself. This is a way to love, joy and freedom like none other. It is the only way. There is none other. For The Way is the person of Jesus Christ, man enough to die and give himself completely, and God enough to rise from the dead, without losing his humanity, and to fulfill ours in him. 

Jesus died so that our death in him will be the way to eternal life for us. Or, to say it another way, he IS the way that, clinging to him alone, becomes our personal Passover, our delivery from the slavery of sin and its effects, even death itself. 

Holding firmly to Jesus, eating his flesh and drinking his blood, a bond is sealed that protects us from anything that the world or the forces of Evil can fling at us. They could not defeat him. They will not defeat us. Such is the joy of the Gospel, which frees us from all bondage and dispels all fear. Isn’t that what true love is supposed to do?